Sunday, September 29, 2013

Big Changes at Dice Chucker Caverns

No, not a management shakeup--we're still squirming under the iron thumb of Timrod the Tyrant.  And no technical upgrades either; I'm mooching off the neighbor's wifi as we speak.  But we have, finally, removed the hyphen from Dice Chucker in the title.  That makes things seem a lot less... hyphenated around here.

Also:  we're hoping to release the first of many modules based on the famous Holmsmouth Urban Megadungeon campaign. Thanks to all of you who funded my k-starter drive to get that project fired up.

Actually, if someone could come up with a way to donate time instead of money that would be awesome.  I don't mean time as in "Sure, I'll spend a few hours inking your maps for you."  Rather, I need to set up some sort of temporal stasis account where I can just spend so many hours working on creative endeavours without having to worry about real life concerns like eating, sleeping, aging, etc.  Anyone figured out a way to do this?

Friday, September 27, 2013

30 Second Challenge

These self-indulgent 20-questions type circle jerk posts usually make me feel rather slimy when I take part in them, and the 30 day challenge is even more repugnant because it's, ya' know, dragged out over an entire month.   But since I like to talk about myself as much as the next guy, I'm jumping on the bandwagon anyway.  I haven't got a whole damn month to dedicate to this wankfest, so I'm going to crank the whole thing out in just 15 minutes.  That gives me 30 seconds per question, so here goes:

  1. How I got started: Holmes, December 1980; I was 11.  I had a halfling with a crossbow.
  2. Favorite playable race: Sub-half gnomes
  3. Favorite playable class:Thief.  Are there non-playable classes?
  4. Favorite Gameworld: Fronteirs of Alusia.  when I'm not trying to be obscure: Greyhawk
  5. Favorite set of dice/individual die: those waxy clunkers that came with basic D&D sets back in the late 70's and very early 80s/the 12-sider being the best of the bunch
  6. Favorite Diety [sic]: South Beachy
  7. Favorite edition: Hackmaster.  Haven't actually played it but any game that has barding for your dolphin on the equipment list has struck gold in my book.
  8. Favorite character played: My favorite character was a female elven f/mu.  She was the only femail character I ever had, was one of very few spellcasters, and she was an elf: I hate elves.  All those together made her pretty unique in the pantheon of my characters.
  9. Favorite character I haven't played: Finn the Human
  10. Craziest thing that's ever happened: no time for this one
  11. Favorite adventure you have ran [sic]: I "have ran"?  Who edited this list?
  12. Favorite Dungeon type/location: Urban Adventure
  13. Favorite Trap/Puzzle: Mouse/Jigsaw.
  14. Favorite NPC:Yahweh
  15. Favorite undead: the lowly skeleton
  16. Favorite Abberation: is Abberation an aberrant spelling of aberration?  Again with the editing.
  17. Favorite animal/vermin: Shrieker--I know it says "animal/vermin," but they don't have a fungal category--or an ooze/slime category for that matter.  Which makes me think maybe those things fall under "Abberation"?
  18. Favorite immortal/outsider: Uhhhh...  huh?
  19. Favorite elemental/plant: zzzzz ... next.
  20. Favorite Humanoid/natural/fey: Brownie.  No, pixie.  Ah, who cares.
  21. Favorite Dragon: Brass, cuz no one gives them any respect.  Seriously, can you name their breath weapon without looking it up?  Also, they tarnish easily.
  22. Favorite monster overall: Bulette.  I love anything that eats hobbits.  Ankhegs too.
  23. Least favorite monster overall: Drow. They might be more appealing if they regularly dined on hobbits.
  24. Favorite energy type: That wave-generated shit seems pretty cool.  Geothermal is nice too.  Solar would be awesome if we could count on the sun to be, ya' know, more present.
  25. Favorite magic item: +1 sword, sorry running out of time.
  26. Favorite non-magic item: Ballista
  27. Character I'd like to play: Thundarr the Barbarian
  28. Character I will never play again: Ookla the Mok
  29. Number I always seem to roll on 20-sider: 21.  Yes, I'm that awesome.
  30. Best DM I've ever had: Your mother. Boo-yah!
 And that's a wrap.  Thanks for stopping by everyone; have a safe ride home.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Great Mysteries of Greyhawk: The Invoked Devastation

It has long been known that the Rain of Colorless Fire was wrought upon the Suloise in return for the Invoked Devastation which befell the Baklunish.  And all along we've assumed that it must have been the Suloise who Invoked The Big D, but if you read the histories, this conclusion is far from certain.  Check out the actual quotes on the matter of the Devastation from the World of Greyhawk Gazetteer (Gygax, 1980).

From the Brief History:
“When the Invoked Devastation came upon the Baklunish, their own magi brought down the Rain of Colorless fire in a terrible curse” p. 5
From description of the Dry Steppes:
“Once the area of was well-watered and fertile... but it was destroyed by the Invoked Devastation in the war with the Suloise.” p. 21

From the description of the Sea of Dust:
“In return for a terrible magical attack, the Suloise lands were inundated by a nearly invisible fiery rain...” p. 26
And that is all that the Gazetteer has to say on the matter.

What's clear is that a not-insignificant portion of the Baklunish lands were devastated by a terrible curse, and that the Bakkies* let loose an even more thorough and complete devastation on the Suliemen in the form of the Rain of Colorless Fire.  But nowhere is it definitively stated that it was actually the Sulies who Invoked the Devastation that started the Great Cataclysm Race, leaving open the possibility that a third party was responsible for The Big D.  But who?

*Is it racist to call them Bakkies?

Well, how about the Oeridians; they were also victims of Bakluni expansion, the turmoil of the war having forced them to flee their lands and head east into the Flannaes.  As there is no mention of the Oeridian homelands in the gaz, could it be that any evidence of their native lands was wiped out by the Devastation?  Perhaps Oeridian mages left a curse upon their fertile homeland which was triggered by the departure of the last Oeridian peoples.  And, not wanting to incite a rain of colorless fire on their own asses, they decided to keep mum on the topic.

Or was it the Flann?  They too suffered heavily from Bakluni expansionism as their once peaceful lands were stampeded by refugees of Oeridian and Suloise stock alike.  Perhaps Flannish devastationists teamed up with dwarven demolitions experts, gnomish telemarketers, and elven poets to unleash the Devastation in hopes of stemming the flow.

Or even the Bakluni: The text from the Brief History in particular seems to lend itself to the interpretation that the Devastation was something that the Bakluni may have brought on themselves.  Perhaps while developing their apocalyptic technology they accidentally unleashed the Devastation on their own lands.  Undeterred, they sharpened up their game and let fly the Rain on their enemies. Or maybe it wasn't an accident; maybe they went all Guernica on some minority population in their realm--like the Oeridans--and then took it a step further, blamed it on the Suel, and used it as provocation for unleashing the Rain del Fuego sin Color, sort of like how Poland provoked Nazi Germany into starting WWII. 

Or, indeed, it might have been the Suloise all along.  The cataloguers of the Gazetteer may have been restrained in ascribing the Devastation to the Suloise because the RoCF was so thorough and widespread in its destruction that no Suloise who were in-the-know about the Big D survived to take credit for it.

Gygax, E. Gary. World of Greyhawk Gazetteer, 1980. TSR Hobbies, Inc., Lake Geneva, WI

Monday, September 16, 2013

The Rain of Colorless Fire

Everyone's familiar with this famous photograph taken by one of the only survivors of the Rain of Colorless Fire on his way out of town:
What have we wrought?
Look at this dude's posture: he seems calm, one hand resting on the battlements, the other covering his downcast face.  Is this the posture of a man in shock or horror at the holocaust he is witnessing?  To me, his demeanor has always suggested that the Suel people knew that they'd earned this fate.  After the centuries of exploitation and tyranny and the Devastation they'd just Invoked, this dude's demeanor was evidence that the Suel knew that the time of reckoning had finally arrived.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Gygaxian Dungeoneering: Put on the uniforms

Check this out:
The Hommlet lacrosse team takes the field .
"These places are the roosts of 23 gargoyles... These creatures greatly fear the Drow, and will attack no creature with a Drow or wearing Drow garb" -- D1 Descent Into the Depths of the Earth, pg. 9, room 8.

"OGRE...has been instructed to guard the room against any creatures who do not wear the symbol of the new master" -- T1 Village of Hommlet, pg. 15, room 7.
"There will always be 8 zombies...Anyone entering will be attacked unless they are robed in temple garb." -- B2 Keep on the Borderlands, pg. 21, room 53.
Three Gygax penned dungeons agree: if you see someone in uniform, steal his clothes.  It should be noted that the Ogre in T1 also required that you flash Lareth's gang sign or he would attack regardless of your outfit.  Presumably EGG's players, by that time, had caught on to the pacifying effects of a man in uniform.